San Francisco and New York City top the list
If you’re a woman considering a move anytime soon, there’s one list you’ll want to take a look at. The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) published their Local Reproductive Freedom Index on Wednesday, an index ranking 40 U.S. cities on policies related to reproductive health and rights.
The NIRH used 37 policy indicators to evaluate the reproductive health and rights policies of the cities on the list. Those indicators were pulled from six categories surrounding the topics of abortion clinic access, funding and coverage for reproductive health care, advancing inclusive policies, and taking a stand on reproductive health issues at the local, state, or federal level.
The top cities that each received the highest score were Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco, though San Francisco bested the others by just a hair for having the most policy solutions in place. While the highest-scoring cities tend to be in the more progressive states along the coast, there were a few surprises.
In Baltimore, students have full access to contraception at their school health centers. Columbus, Ohio, recently passed a citizen-led measure to protect patients and clinic staff from harassment by protesters. Oklahoma City passed a resolution to protect LGBTQ citizens from housing discrimination.
Jacksonville, Florida, was the lowest-ranked city on the list with one star. Other low-ranked cities were Hartford, Connecticut; Richmond, Virginia; Detroit, Michigan; and Las Vegas, Nevada. These cities were found to lack policies that supported reproductive health and rights. Jacksonville, for instance, provides zero funding for abortion clinics or STI prevention campaigns.
No city in the United States, the NIRH points out, is the ideal city for reproductive freedom and care. They outlined in the index a “model city” that is the “blueprint for a city that uses the full extent of its policy and programmatic powers to foster thriving families, support people’s reproductive and sexual health decisions, and destigmatize abortion and contraception.” Women’s healthcare has seen some setbacks, to say the least, in the current administration, but as the report says, the model city is “ultimately achievable.” At least now, we know what that city could look like.